…my dear pal, Authoress, Susan Toy knows what she’s talking about when it comes to books… she’s seen the business from several angles, including selling ‘em, promoting ‘em, writing ‘em, and blogging about ‘em… her Guest Post today blows away a few urban myths about the expected longevity both of print and eBooks…
Not so fast, Print-Lovers!
By Susan M. Toy
Thanks to Seumas Gallacher for agreeing to host me, once again, by posting this rant guest post on a topic that has me particularly steamed … or fried, actually.
Last evening, when I began making dinner, I asked Dennis if he thought I should slice the potatoes into rounds instead of the usual sticks to make fries, just for a change. (Belgian Fries, actually, since I’m half-Belgian.)
He made a face – really! – and said, “But then they won’t be fries!”
“But they’ll still be potatoes I’m frying, just in a different shape.”
He shrugged and went outside, glass of R&C in hand, to watch the sun set.
After we’d finished dinner, Dennis said, “Hey, those fries were really good. Just like real fries.”
My eyes rolled up to look at the ceiling and I shook my head.
I relate this anecdote here now, because it’s not unlike the arguments print-only lovers make when commenting disparagingly about eBooks and other new formats of books. “I will only read print; I will never read eBooks. I just don’t like eBooks.”
And it’s this attitude, and the glee with which these print-only lovers exclaim the “imminent death” of everything “E” that has been spread lately throughout the media and on social networks that really have me fired up! First of all, what these people don’t realize is that current reports and articles are mainly erroneous and the information is manipulative to make readers believe that not only are fewer eBooks being sold, but that print sales are on an upsurge.
Far from actually “dying”, eBooks are enjoying healthier sales than ever right now, and people in greater numbers (especially in my age demographic of Baby Boomers) are turning to eReading in even greater numbers than before. Many Thought Tablet Would Kill Ereader http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Many-Thought-Tablet-Would-Kill-Ereader-Why-Didnt-Happen/1013638
I discovered an interesting and informative author-blog last week in which some of what has been happening in the publishing business is explained. Gene Doucette points out that most of the declarations of the death of eBooks is coming from the Big5 publishers – who have their own interests in mind: The Collective Madness of the Publishing Industry http://genedoucette.me/2016/02/the-collective-madness-of-the-publishing-industry/ It’s very important to read articles such as this to understand how the business is being skewed in favour of the publishers.
Here are more current articles to read: The Nook’s Weird Death March http://genedoucette.me/2016/03/the-nooks-weird-death-march/
Barne’s & Noble Nukes the Nook http://diginomica.com/2016/03/07/bn-nukes-the-nook-with-a-15-march-deadline-for-customers-to-save-their-content/
How Apple and Big Publishers pushed eBooks toward failure http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-03-07/how-apple-and-big-publishers-pushed-e-books-toward-failure
Please be sure to read these articles, because they go a long way to explain why I say all these declarations of death of the eBook are downright false! To paraphrase Mark Twain, “the reports of eBook death are greatly exaggerated.”
If anything, there’s a shift away from the original eReaders (Kindle, KOBO, NOOK) as more ways of reading eBooks become available, through tablets, apps, on your computer or phone. If anything is dying, it’s those original eReaders! (Although my Kindle Paperwhite is now 4 years old and still ticking.)
But that’s not the part of all this that has me steamed. What I resent – and resent mainly as an author who has published in both print and eBook – is that print-only proponents believe everyone should be satisfied with reading print only – because that’s the way they choose to read – and that they also express a great deal of satisfaction in this so-called “death” of eBooks.
I have always believed that we, as authors and publishers, should make our books available in as many formats as possible – because we want to get those books into as many readers’ hands as possible! We should be catering to EVERY reader, whether they prefer print, eBook, or even audio (if we can afford to produce that format) in order to reach as many eyes as we can, throughout the world. I draw the line at scrolls hand-printed by monks, however. That’s just not practical any longer – there’s a scarcity of trained monks these days.
To downplay one format in favour of another does a terrible disservice to AUTHORS, as well as READERS! Authors have a right to find and attract the largest audience possible. What a shame it would be if an author were to write a terrific book that was only published in print and unavailable outside of their home country (because of restrictions on publishing rights – a whole different topic) or limited to their local area due to excessive shipping costs.
I wrote about the opportunity to move from being a local author to one with a global reach in an earlier guest post for Seumas: From Local to Global: eBooks – promoting Authors to International Status https://seumasgallacher.com/2014/11/28/dear-friend-authoress-susan-m-toy-a-giantess-in-promoting-the-rest-of-we-quill-scrapers/
As I say at the end of this post … “eBooks have allowed me the opportunity to become an author with an international following – something that never would have happened in a million years of print publishing!”
So, if you are one of those who espouse print – Good for you! And at least you are still reading. But please don’t think you are reading books in a “better” way than those who choose to read eBooks. Or that you should be cheering the demise of another format. Because what you are actually doing is denying READING! Denying the right to access books and reading in other formats – just because you yourself “prefer” reading books in print.
I, personally, am ambidextrous when it comes to reading formats: sometimes I read print (because I own so many print books), sometimes I read eBooks I’ve downloaded to my Kindle. I also read eBooks borrowed from the library on an Overdrive app. And I read PDFs sent to me by authors and friends. I do all my own writing directly to my computer and create Word docs and PDFs from that, which I’m now accustomed to editing directly on the computer. At the moment, I’m reading two print books, an eBook on my Kindle, I’m waiting for a hold to come in at the library, and I’m editing a Word Doc. I have at times listened to audio books, but find my mind wanders, so it’s not my favourite format. It’s great though for taking notes, as though I’m in a lecture, when I listen to non-fiction. But I would never consider denying anyone else access to audio just because I don’t enjoy “reading” books in that manner.
How about if we stop fighting over preferred formats, or considering that our choice is somehow better than others? How about if we start thinking about the authors and the readers, and helping to bring the two groups together in whatever way we can – by encouraging the creation, sales, distribution, and easy access of ALL formats of books … the formats in which readers choose to read these books.
Quite frankly, if any one of these formats were to die because another became dominant, we would all lose – Authors AND Readers! We should be encouraging innovation, not standing still, firmly entrenched in the last century. I doubt we’ve seen the final evolution of books and reading, and I for one cheer, “Bring it on! Let’s see what you’ve got that encourages readers to want to read even more books!”
And I just bet that the very next time I make fries, Dennis will ask for them to be cut into rounds instead of sticks.
…thanks for another terrific post, m’Lady, Susan… for all yeez Lads and Lassies of Blog Land, yeez can catch up with Susan here :
My main blog:
Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing, And, for good measure, a bit of Cooking and Eating
A blog dedicated to promoting other authors and their books:
…see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!…
ALL MY BLOG POSTS ARE FREE TO SHARE OR RE-BLOG SHOULD YOU SO WISH—BE MY GUEST!